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On this day: December 31

Published On: Dec 29 2012 05:25:41 AM EST   Updated On: Dec 31 2014 02:00:00 AM EST

Times Square holds its first New Year's Eve celebration, the board game Monopoly is patented, "Calvin and Hobbes" say goodbye, and the U.S. relinquishes control of the Panama Canal, all on this day.

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Jean-Marie David/Wikimedia Commons

2008: American author Donald E. Westlake, a three-time Edgar Award winner with more than 100 novels and non-fiction books to his credit, dies of a heart attack at the age of 75 in Mexico. He specialized in crime fiction, especially comic capers, with his most famous characters being the criminals Parker and John Dortmunder. Several of his books were made into movies, including "The Hot Rock," "Cops and Robbers," "Bank Shot" and "What's the Worst that Could Happen?" He also was a screenwriter, writing the scripts for 1987's "The Stepfather" and 1990's "The Grifters," for which he earned an Oscar nomination.


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